Avoid the ‘sameness’ epidemic

Published on February 6th, 2018

by Don Finkle, RCR Yachts
Unlike a lot of other sports and activities, sailing offers a wide variety of ways to enjoy it. Tennis is tennis, skiing is skiing, hockey is hockey, golf is golf. But sailing means many different things.

Ranging from distance sailing to closed course racing, W-L racing, round the island(s), pursuit racing, shorthanded sailing, single-handed, day races, overnight races, premier bucket list races, even iceboating, the list of ways to enjoy sailing goes on. However, most of us end up gravitating to one type of sailing and do it over and over again, typically in the same place(s).

It is no wonder that we have trouble keeping people in the sport, there is an epidemic of “sameness”. I am guilty of this myself by organizing the same races we have done for years. Time for some changes.

For example, weeknight beer can races are generally popular and we don’t want to upset the apple cart and screw up a good thing. The races and the results are often predictable, however, so why not keep the general format of day and time and place but play with some variety in the way we do it?

Reverse the order of starts, change the course layout, try downwind starts for a change, you get the idea. Have a race where a junior sailor has to helm, or maybe a whole team of juniors? Maybe a surprise race where the sailors don’t know what the format will be until they show up to race.

There must be many things we can try and see what our sailors like and don’t like…but even those that don’t stick will still offer something new. The talk at the bar afterward might be more interesting too.

Comment: Along with change must come marketing. The active sailors may be fine with the ‘sameness’; it is the less active ones that must be convinced there’s new reasons to return. The ultimate goal is for change to create growth. – Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

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